The assassination of President John F. Kennedy - A historically-accurate reenactment

The assassination of President John F. Kennedy - A historically-accurate reenactment

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas. To remember this day, presents a historically-accurate live blog featuring a moment-by-moment timeline of that tragic November day in 1963 - as we would have reported it today.

A team of digital producers spent the last several weeks gathering photos, videos, and multimedia from a number of sources - including the JFK Library in Boston - so that we could offer you an insightful experience into the assassination, and how it might be covered using today's technology.

We offer this timeline as a way to remember history and a respected president who called Massachusetts his home.   - Ronald Agrella, editor
  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 2:45:14 PM
    Welcome to our live blog on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The coverage will begin shortly. The timeline is as historically accurate as we could make it. We cover President Kennedy's early morning speech in Forth Worth, the motorcade and assassination in Dallas, events that happened in Boston and the region, and then end with the return of Air Force One with the president's body. We have also weaved in readers' stories as they recollect the events of that day. We hope that this live blog will help you understand the events that day, how we would use today's technology to cover such a tragedy, and to honor the 50th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy. -- Ron Agrella, Editor
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:45:49 PM
    It’s raining lightly outside the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth. President Kennedy is greeting the crowd of people that has gathered in the parking lot.
  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 2:46:12 PM

    President Kennedy greets supporters in the parking lot of the Hotel Texas in Fort Worth.

    (Credit: Dallas Times Herald Collection/The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza)

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:46:52 PM
    There are several thousands of people outside of the hotel.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:47:50 PM
    Kennedy began a tour of the state Thursday in San Antonio and later moved on to Houston. There has been a rift between liberal and conservative Texas Democrats, and Kennedy's chances of winning Texas's 28 electoral votes in next year's presidential election may hinge on a truce between the warring factions.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:49:08 PM
    Onlookers are holding up signs and posters as they wait for President Kennedy to speak.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:50:06 PM
    After being introduced by Texas Congressman Jim Wright, Vice President Lyndon Johnson spoke briefly to the crowd before inviting President Kennedy to the podium.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:51:03 PM
    President Kennedy: "What we are trying to do in this country and what we are trying to do around the world I believe is quite simple, and that is to build a military structure which will defend the vital interests of the United States. And in that great cause, the best bomber system in the world, the B-58, and as it will now do in developing the best fighter system in the world, the TFX, Fort Worth will play its proper part."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:52:16 PM
    As he continues his speech, the president says, "And that is why we have placed so much emphasis in the last three years in building a defense system second to none. Until now the United States is stronger than it’s ever been in its history."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:54:05 PM
    "And secondly, we believe that the new environment, space, the new sea, is also an area where the United States should be second to none. And this state of Texas, and the United States, is now engaged in the most concentrated effort in history to provide leadership in this area, as it must here on Earth. And this is our second great effort, and next December, next month, the United States will fire the largest booster in the history of the world, putting us ahead of the Soviet Union in that area, for the first time in our history," President Kennedy said.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:55:25 PM
    President Kennedy goes on to say, "And thirdly, for the United States to fulfill its obligations around the world, [it] requires that the United States move forward economically, that the people of this country participate in rising prosperity, and it is a fact in 1962 and the first six months of 1963, the economy of the United States grew, not only faster than nearly every Western country, which had not been true in the '50s, but also grew faster than the Soviet Union itself. That’s the kind of strength the United States needs -- economically, in space, militarily."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 2:57:08 PM
    The president has finished his speech. "And in the final analysis. that strength depends on the willingness of the citizens of the United States to assume the burdens of leadership. I know one place where they are -- here in this rain, in Fort Worth, in Texas, in the United States, we’re going forward."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:00:29 PM
    The president is shaking hands with more people congregated in the parking lot of the hotel. The presidential entourage is heading back inside for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
    (Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 3:01:30 PM

    President John F. Kennedy, center on foreground platform, addresses a
    rain-soaked crowd in Fort Worth, Texas.
    (AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman) 

  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 3:01:46 PM

    President John F. Kennedy, center, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson,
    center right, walk through downtown Fort Worth, Texas.
    The president and vice president are in Texas to help mend a rift among Texas Democrats
    and try to secure the state for Mr.
    Kennedy in the 1964 election.
    Photo/Houston Chronicle) 

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:03:48 PM
    The president is entering the ballroom at the Hotel Texas for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 3:03:57 PM

    Scenes from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

    (Credit: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library)

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:17:52 PM
    Mrs. Kennedy is entering the ballroom and is now joining the president for breakfast.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 3:18:29 PM

    Mrs. Kennedy joins the president in the ballroom at the Hotel Texas for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

    (Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 3:20:18 PM

    First Lady entering the Forth Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:24:21 PM
    After some brief introductions, the president is now speaking to the audience at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast. "Two years ago, I introduced myself in Paris by saying that I was the man who had accompanied Mrs. Kennedy to Paris. I am getting somewhat that same sensation as I travel around Texas. Nobody wonders what Lyndon and I wear," the president says.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 3:25:21 PM

    President Kennedy speaks to the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast at the Hotel Texas.

    (Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:27:37 PM
    He continues, "He speaks for Fort Worth and he speaks for the country, and I don't know any city that is better represented in the Congress of the United States than Fort Worth. And if there are any Democrats here this morning, I am sure you wouldn't hold that against him."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:29:40 PM
    President Kennedy: "I am glad to be here in Jim Wright's city. About 35 years ago, a Congressman from California who had just been elected received a letter from an irate constituent which said: 'During the campaign, you promised to have the Sierra Madre Mountains reforested. You have been in office one month and you haven't done so.' Well, no one in Fort Worth has been that unreasonable, but in some ways he has had the Sierra Madre Mountains reforested, and here in Fort Worth he has contributed to its growth." the president says.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:33:32 PM
    President Kennedy is now saying, "Three years ago last September I came here, with the Vice President, and spoke at Burke Burnett Park, and I called ... for a national security policy and a national security system which was second to none -- a position which said not first, but, if, when and how, but first. That city responded to that call as it has through its history. And we have been putting that pledge into practice ever since."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:34:25 PM
    His speech continues as he says, "And I want to say a word about that pledge here in Fort Worth, which understands national defense and its importance to the security of the United States. During the days of the Indian War, this city was a fort. During the days of World War I, even before the United States got into the war, Royal Canadian Air Force pilots were training here. During the days of World War II, the great Liberator bombers, in which my brother flew with his co-pilot from this city, were produced here."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:37:26 PM
    President Kennedy is now saying, "The first nonstop flight around the world took off and returned here, in a plane built in factories here. The first truly intercontinental bomber, the B-36, was produced here. The B-58, which is the finest weapons system in the world today, which has demonstrated most recently in flying from Tokyo to London, with an average speed of nearly 1,000 miles per hour, is a Fort Worth product."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:40:40 PM
    "And in the not too distant future ... a new Fort Worth product, the TFX Tactical Fighter Experimental -- nobody knows what those words mean, but that is what they mean, Tactical Fighter Experimental -- will serve the forces of freedom and will be the number one airplane in the world today," continues the president.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:43:48 PM
    President Kennedy now speaks directly to the citizens of Forth Worth, as he says, "In all these ways, the success of our national defense depends upon this city in the western United States, 10,000 miles from Vietnam, 5,000 or 6,000 miles from Berlin, thousands of miles from trouble spots in Latin America and Africa or the Middle East. And yet Fort Worth and what it does and what it produces participates in all these great historic events. Texas, as a whole, and Fort Worth bear particular responsibility for this national defense effort, for military procurement in this State totals nearly $1.25 billion, fifth highest among all the states of the Union. There are more military personnel on active duty in this State than any in the nation, save one -- and it is not Massachusetts -- any in the nation save one, with a combined military-civilian defense payroll of well over a billion dollars. I don't recite these for any partisan purpose. They are the result of American determination to be second to none, and as a result of the effort which this country has made in the last three years we are second to none."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:45:41 PM
    President Kennedy goes on to say, "This is not an easy effort. This requires sacrifice by the people of the United States. But this is a very dangerous and uncertain world. As I said earlier, on three occasions in the last three years, the United States has had a direct confrontation. No one can say when it will come again. No one expects that our life will be easy, certainly not in this decade, and perhaps not in this century. But we should realize what a burden and responsibility the people of the United States have borne for so many years. Here, a country which lived in isolation, divided and protected by the Atlantic and the Pacific, uninterested in the struggles of the world around it, here in the short space of 18 years after the Second World War, we put ourselves, by our own will and by necessity, into defense of alliances with countries all around the globe. Without the United States, South Vietnam would collapse overnight. Without the United States, the SEATO alliance would collapse overnight. Without the United States, the CENTO alliance would collapse overnight. Without the United States, there would be no NATO. And gradually Europe would drift into neutralism and indifference. Without the efforts of the United States in the Alliance for Progress, the Communist advance onto the mainland of South America would long ago have taken place."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:47:23 PM
    President Kennedy closes his speech as he says, "So this country, which desires only to be free, which desires to be secure, which desired to live at peace for 18 years under three different administrations, has borne more than its share of the burden, has stood watch for more than its number of years. I don't think we are fatigued or tired. We would like to live as we once lived. But history will not permit it. The Communist balance of power is still strong. The balance of power is still on the side of freedom. We are still the keystone in the arch of freedom, and I think we will continue to do as we have done in our past, our duty, and the people of Texas will be in the lead.

    So I am glad to come to this State which has played such a significant role in so many efforts in this century, and to say that here in Fort Worth, you people will be playing a major role in the maintenance of the security of the United States for the next 10 years. I am confident, as I look to the future, that our chances for security, our chances for peace, are better than they have been in the past. And the reason is because we are stronger. And with that strength is a determination to not only maintain the peace, but also the vital interests of the United States. To that great cause, Texas and the United States are committed."
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 3:50:15 PM
    President Kennedy is being presented with a gray Stetson cowboy hat and a pair of brown calfskin cowboy boots with orange, green, and yellow stitching by the head of the Chamber of Commerce. His wife is also being given a pair of boots.

    “We couldn't let you leave without providing you some protection against the rain,” says the head of the Chamber of Commerce to the president.

    After someone in the crowd shouts to put the hat on, the president waves the hat in the air, and says, “I'll put it on in the White House on Monday. If you come up, you'll have a chance to see it there.”
  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 3:51:16 PM

    President Kennedy receives gifts at Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

    (Credit: The Sixth Floor Museum in Dealy Plaza)

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 4:15:49 PM
    Breakfast has ended; President Kennedy and his wife are heading back to their hotel room before leaving for the airport.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 4:40:10 PM
    President Kennedy and his wife have gotten into their car and the motorcade is now leaving the hotel on their way to Carswell Air Force Base. The flight to Dallas will take about 13 minutes.
  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 4:40:56 PM

    President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy get into their car in Fort Worth before driving to Carswell Air Force Base for their flight to Dallas.

    (Credit: Cecil Stoughton, White House Photographs, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 4:45:10 PM
    Upon President Kennedy's arrival in Dallas, he will ride through the streets of downtown Dallas in his motorcade before arriving at the Trade Mart for a luncheon with the Dallas Citizens Council.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 4:49:20 PM
    President Kennedy plans to speak to the Dallas Citizens Council about how the United States can achieve successful leadership and how the country can ensure its defense and security. He will discuss similar topics from his speeches in Forth Worth, including the country’s military strength, the country's role as a leader in space, and its economic stability.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 4:53:23 PM
    After President Kennedy's luncheon at the Trade Mart in Dallas, he will board Air Force One and fly to Austin, Texas for a legislative reception at the Governor's mansion and a fundraising dinner at the Sam Houston Coliseum.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 5:20:07 PM
    President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy have boarded Air Force One; their plane is departing for Dallas.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 5:21:25 PM
    Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson have boarded Air Force Two, which is now departing.
  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 5:35:19 PM
    Air Force Two has landed at Dallas’s Love Field. Both the Vice President and Mrs. Johnson have disembarked and are awaiting the arrival of Air Force One.
  • Ron Agrella, Editor 11/22/2013 5:38:08 PM

    Air Force One lands in Dallas and President Kennedy and his wife are welcomed.

  • David Stewart, 11/22/2013 5:40:16 PM

    People, including right-wing protesters carrying a Confederate flag and anti-Kennedy placards, await the arrival of President John F. Kennedy at Love Field in Dallas.

    (Credit: AP)

  • Zeninjor Enwemeka, News... 11/22/2013 5:41:12 PM
    The large crowd gathered at Love Field is waiting for the President and Mrs. Kennedy to disembark. Many people are holding signs; some children have been lifted onto their parents’ shoulders.
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